The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) signed a deal with Canada on February 06, 2018 to buy 16 combat unity helicopters worth $233.36 million as the military prepared to step up operations against Islamist and communist rebels.
“The helicopters will be used for the military’s internal security operations,” Major-General Restituto Padilla, military chief of plans, adding the aircraft could also be used for search-and-rescue and disaster relief operations.
As President Rodrigo Duterte will re-focus on the armed forces’ modernization program to tackle growing domestic threats as Maoist fighters and pro-Islamic State extremists try to regroup, the Bell 412EPI helicopters will be delivered early next year. The helicopters would replace the second-hand Vietnam War-era UH-1H Huey rotary aircraft, the workhorse of the Philippine Air Force. The Philippines acquired those from the United States.
The negotiated government contract has been signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana with Canadian Commercial Corporation, which was licensed to sell the American military aircraft. In 2014, it bought eight lower variant of the aircraft for 4.8 billion pesos. This is the second time the Philippines has acquired Bell helicopters.
The Philippines is spending 125 billion pesos for the next five years to modernize its armed forces, but putting priority on equipment and armaments for internal security operations to defeat domestic threats as well protect its maritime borders.
The country also acquires three frigates from South Korea, air defense radars from Israel, armored vehicles, a long-range patrol aircraft and assault rifles and grenade launchers from Russia.